top of page

10-17-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

Mary Erickson’s cottage being moved by a team of four men. Two are identified as John and Dan Peck. Who are the other two men? If you know, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum, 300 Coloma Ave., Coloma; 269-468-3330, or on Facebook @northberrienhistory. (Photo from the collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum)

The Paw Paw River Journal

Rocky the

Rabid Raccoon

Remember that old cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle? Well, that’s not what this is about. I have noticed in recent years how civilization is encroaching on the habitat of wild creatures. As we expand our civilization, wildlife either is destroyed or learns to live with it. Too bad for the wild creatures! We have a long history of doing that, and I’m not necessarily proud of it!

Friend Connie out in the wilds of Pennsylvania recently almost had an encounter with a raccoon that was possibly coming down with rabies! She wrote about it in her newsletter and I will hereunto attach a copy:


I’ve lived in the country long enough (well, pretty much most of my life) and have observed enough wild life to pick up on whether a certain critter is behaving like the rest of its fraternity or not. The other day, I had just opened up the chicken coop and was stepping back to the cock-eyed gate when I noticed the outdoor kitty sitting on the lane that leads back to the neighbor’s place. I wouldn’t have paid the feline much attention except for the fact that his gaze was centered on something in the little strip of woods alongside the lane: his ears were perked forward and his whole body stiffened, very alert. When you’re outside with your dog or cat, it’s a good thing to glance at them from time to time. My habit is to look at the outdoor kitty – unless he takes off and disappears then there’s no looking at him, of course. I followed that invisible line from his gaze to the woods. At first, nothing. Nothing moved. Nothing stirred. A goose bump skittered up my spine. I hurriedly closed the gate, a cock-eyed contraption that is part of the chicken fence: unlatch the thick wire holding two metal posts together and one small part of the fence drops to the ground, a triangular affair that allows me to step in or out. Or trip and fall over into the chicken poo. With my own gaze on the woods, I stepped carefully to the cat’s side. That’s when I saw dark gray movement of a hunched critter. At first, I thought it was another cat, but just as quickly I realized the critter was a young raccoon. Here in the broad daylight of a bright morning, a raccoon was rambling on the edge of the yard and in the woods. I guessed he had hurried from the direction of the woods behind the chicken pen. I keep an old wheel barrow on the outside of the chicken pen, so I grabbed up a snow shovel that I keep there (to pick up the occasional dead-from-old-age chicken or guinea) and held it in front of me. As though a silent signal had been given, the kitty and I advanced toward the raccoon. First red flag: the critter was out in daylight. I reached the edge of the little woods and the raccoon turned around to face the kitty and me and the darned thing took a few steps toward us and growled! I held up that snow shovel but glanced down at the kitty. He was more interested in investigating the critter instead of running. I snapped a “Git!” at the furred bandit and hoisted the shovel at it. On second thought, after the raccoon took another step, I dropped the snow shovel and grabbed up the kitty. Second red flag: the little evil thing wasn’t backing down. Not liking my picking him up, the feline turned and twisted in my arms so he could see the invader and tried his best to slide from between my arms. But I tightened my grasp around him and I hurried to the back door of the house where I deposited him inside with the other felines who were milling around the interior side of the back door. They were rather curious at the outdoor kitty’s early return. I stepped inside and grabbed the phone, made a call to a man who works with the Game Commission. He said he would be there within the half hour. I hurried back outside to the small woods and looked around. The raccoon was gone. I picked up the shovel and returned it to the wheel barrow then spent the half hour looking for signs or tracks until the man showed up. I walked up and down the lane, up the other lane that also led back to the neighbors. I found only one track in the dark mud and it was headed back toward the neighbors. When the guy drove up, he removed a huge rifle from the back of his truck. I told him about the raccoon’s appearance and possibly where it headed. He said he’d scout around. I forget where I was running errands that day but when I returned home, I called him. He said he searched around for almost an hour but didn’t find any sign of the raccoon. I had told him my suspicions that the youngster was probably in the early stages of rabies – all due to its behavior. He said it was possible. We talked for a couple of minutes; then I thanked him for his time. Later, my neighbor said he found some raccoon prints in the mud on the bank of his small pond. Was that the daytime intruder or another, probably innocent raccoon minding its own business fishing in the small pond? No telling.

…And so, Dear Readers, there is Connie’s account of her almost encounter with a raccoon that was probably rabid! Could it happen to any of us? You bet! Whenever you see a creature in the wild acting aggressive or out of character, be suspicious and notify the authorities. That’s one of the things they do in and around our storybook towns along the Paw Paw River!

Coloma Public Library News

Chemical Bank Cares Day The Coloma Public Library expresses sincere appreciations to Chemical Bank for sending six volunteers to spend a day of service on Monday, Oct. 14. Thank you for Chemical Cares Day! Scheduled closure change Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Coloma Public Library will delay computer upgrades originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19. The library will be open this Saturday as usual. The upgrades are now scheduled to take place Saturday, Nov. 2. Regular hours will resume Monday, Nov. 4 at 10:00 a.m. Author visit and book signing Join local author, Donna Gauntlett, for a lively discussion about care-taking and finding happiness. She will do readings from her book, “Unexpected Joys in Life’s Detours”. Following the program will be an opportunity to purchase signed copies of her book. The event takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the library’s community meeting room. Call 269-468-3431 or stop by the front desk for more details.

Watervliet District Library News

Family Movie: Oct. 18, 6 p.m. Start your weekends off with a treat! The third Friday evening each month this fall means: Movies! Popcorn! Crafts! October – Hocus Pocus; Halloween slime! Third Monday Book Club Oct. 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. October book – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. West Michigan Paranormal Team Thursday, Oct. 24 – 6:30 p.m. Interested in stuff that goes bump in the night? This team of presenters sure is! Hear all about their paranormal adventures in this continuing fall series. Yoga Mondays 9–10 a.m. Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6–6:30 p.m. Wednesdays 7–8 p.m. Fridays 10:30–11:30 a.m. Call the library at 463-6382 for inquiries.


100 years ago – 1919 The boys are coming 3,000 strong – Armistice Day, Nov. 11 – America’s finest who drove the Kaiser to “bucking” wood – entertainment, bands playing, uniforms flashing and OLD GLORY flying in the breeze. The work of the census will begin in January. 80,000 enumerators will be needed. Rate of pay will vary. John Koob succumbed to injuries sustained on his farm. He and his son Ernest were working in the field of tomatoes. Mr. Koob lost his balance when a tomato crate broke. His fall spooked the horses, where upon the wheels of the wagon passed over him. 60 years ago – 1959 Miss Kay Hiler was crowned Homecoming queen at the senior soc-hop. Football co-captains Jim Bale and Roger Smith crowned the queen. Gordon Umphrey was ordered to dispatch a fire truck to a blaze across from the Ellinee. There was no fire. As this was a false alarm, and a serious offense, police are involved. Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Williamson are opening a laundromat on Center Street. Free washes are given on opening day. Mrs. A.C. Stark continues her history of Coloma with the third installment in this week’s edition. Rose Inn offers family style dinners; located 1 mi. north of Coloma on Paw Paw Lake Road – adults $2.00. 30 years ago – 1989 We Asked You… Who will win the World Series? Vickie Frazier says, “The Giants,” while Bob Morse and Donna Mack pick “The As.” Lions Club donates funds to Hagar Township Fire Department and the Vietnam Memorial Fund. Vice President Jack Turner presents the monetary donations. Charlotte Rhoderick and Ellen Bradden of the First Congregational Church show items that will be available at the annual fall bazaar. Lunch is also available. Fall Cleanup is scheduled for next week. Leave items at the curbside. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thur, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1919 The open season for squirrels began this morning, and a small army of Hartford hunters fled to the woods at the break of day to get the first legal shot that they have been privileged to take in several years at a squirrel. Their numbers will be depleted before the close of the open season on October 31. At their regular Monday evening meeting the village council approved a counter proposal and submitted it to the electric lighting firm of Anderson Bros. for the solution of Hartford’s electric problem. 75 years ago – 1944 With the fruit harvest season drawing to a close, army officers are planning to close the Hartford prisoner-of-war camp. The prisoners have been employed by farmers of southwestern Michigan. The number of prisoners in the Hartford camp is now 493. Largest number during the summer was 760. Mrs. Floyd Lammon was hostess to the Philharmonic club Wednesday, Oct.11, at its second regular meeting of the season. At the September meeting a dinner for members and guests, served by the ladies of the guild of the Methodist church, was followed by a musical program. 50 years ago – 1969 On the night President Harding died in the early 1920s, T.J. Fritz placed a radio speaker in a window of his house on 18 East Street and let local residents hear the news broadcast. On Saturday, firemen burned down the now unwanted house as a demonstration during Fire Prevention Week. The City Council voted to make Hartford a six stoplight community. Traffic lights will be installed at the intersections of North Center and School streets and East Main and Edwin streets. The lights will be operated during the hours children are walking to and from school. Hartford Boy Scouts will be going door to door selling a book called, “The Book of Freedom”. All of the pages are on parchment paper suitable for framing and are printed on only one side. Included are the Declaration of Independence, the American Presidents, how to display the U.S. flag and other patriotic and historical information. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1929 The Watervliet Oil Co. closed a deal for the purchase of the George Ray gas station at the corner of Main and St. Joseph streets. G.G. Hinckley announces that improvements are to be made which will include the installation of a third pump and tank so the station will be equipped to supply the three kinds of Sinclair gas. Allen Russell is the name of a ten-pound son born to City Commissioner and Mrs. Roy Brink at the family home on Oct. 25, 1929. Virginia Elaine is the name of a little daughter born to Mr. and Mrs. Chas. King, formerly of Watervliet, on Oct. 17, 1929. 60 years ago – 1959 October 28, 1959 is the day that the elementary schools initiated the Parent-Teacher Conferences in Watervliet. The purpose of the conferences is not to replace the report card, but rather to supplement it. In April 1959, 18 students in the 11th grade participated in the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test, along with approximately 600,000 other 11th graders in the U.S. They were participating for a chance to qualify for one of the national merit scholarships offered by the National Merit Foundation. Sixteen of the students scored between the 75th and 99th percentile, which ranks them in the upper quarter of those that took the test. A daughter, weighing nine pounds two ounces, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Zaaman on Oct. 14, 1959 30 years ago – 1989 Emilie Forrester is the Watervliet “Student of the Week”. She is a sixth-grade student at North School. Emilie is a good student who consistently turns in all of her work and is always willing to help others. The North School staff would like to recognize her outstanding spelling achievement as the spelldown champion. Marine Lance Cpt. Matthew E. Kean, Watervliet, has been promoted to his present rank while serving with Marine Corps Security Force Company, Naval Air Station, Adak, Alaska. Watervliet resident Teresa Saurbier has been selected for the Belmont College Chorale in Nashville, Tennessee. The chorale is a 37-voice choir which represents the college in the Nashville area and tours the South. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


Related Posts

See All
bottom of page